Photo: Pakistan Military Watch
Although China produced its first unmanned drone only five years ago, experts say the country is on the fast track to develop and sell UAVs that rival U.S. technology.A Chinese weapons supplier tells Washington Post:
“The United States doesn’t export many attack drones, so we’re taking advantage of that hole in the market,” said Zhang Qiaoliang, a representative of the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute, which manufactures many of the most advanced military aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army. “The main reason is the amazing demand in the market for drones after 9/11.”
While China’s technology is known to lag the U.S., that distance is decreasing and experts are unable to say by how much.
Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy centre, says: “The Chinese are catching up quickly. This is something we know for sure. We should not take comfort in some perceived lags in sensors or satellites capabilities. Those are just a matter of time.”
20 five UAVs were on display at the Zhuhai air show in southern China last November including the jet-powered WJ-600 which was shown in a simulated video locating a U.S. carrier group off the coast of Taiwan.
More than 50 countries have embarked on programs to launch their own drone fleets and a 2011 market study by the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va. shows global drone spending will be $94 billion over the next 10 years.
Check out the WJ-600 video below:
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